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Uber to go public in 2019 after board shakeup

06 October 2017

Uber Technologies Inc.'s board has approved a series of corporate reforms along with a multibillion investment from SoftBank Group Inc. that are created to strengthen the ride-hailing company's governance while at the same time strip power from former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick. Benchmark helped force out Mr. Kalanick as chief executive in June.

According to Bloomberg, "Uber Technologies Inc. directors plan to vote Tuesday on board reforms and whether to pursue a major stock deal with SoftBank Group Corp". Mr. Kalanick had outsize voting rights at the company under a certain class of Uber stock that he owns, and he controls three board seats under an amendment to the corporate charter that was passed a year ago. One being expanding the board of directors in the company from 11 now to 17 directors.

Kalanick described Tuesday's actions as "a major step forward in Uber's journey to becoming a world class public company". He was able to calm a tumultuous storm brewing in the company's board and secure one of Uber's biggest-ever investments in just over a month on the job.

Early Uber investors Shervin Pishevar and Steve Russell said in a statement after Tuesday's vote that they would sue to block the change, which cuts the super-voting rights that give them 10 votes per share.

Uber's board of directors is split between detractors and supporters of Kalanick, who had been the driving force behind the company's massive global expansion but whose brash style made him a liability.

Uber has multiple avenues to appeal last month's decision by the City of London to revoke its licence to operate in the city. Benchmark declined to comment. Kalanick has been engaging with Khosrowshahi in hopes of finding a compromise that will unify the board.

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The talks happened as Uber faces the departure of its London boss and pressure in the U.S. over former CEO Travis Kalanick's influence over the company after he appointed two new board members with little notice.

Uber has endured a series of scandals related to its culture and brash approach to regulatory and legal issues.

Further changes across the company include the voting rights for board members to a "one share, one vote" policy, that would take away Uber's earliest investors power such as former CEO Travis Kalanic, who remains on the board.

Khosrowshahi wants the current 11-person board to cast a single vote that encompasses the deal and the revisions to corporate governance.

In a statement provided by Kalanick's side, the former Uber boss seems to have taken the news well. Those directors still must be approved by a majority of the full board or a majority of shareholders.

Last time Uber's board went into such heated deliberations, they were weighing two high-profile candidates for CEO: General Electric Co.'s Jeffrey Immelt or Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.'s Meg Whitman.

Uber to go public in 2019 after board shakeup